When I was younger (like, elementary school), I'd flip through the Scholastic Book order-form and choose books based on the summary. Same with the book fair and the library. On towards junior high and high school, like most teens, I loved going to the mall. But invariably, I spent all my time in the bookstore. Trying to decide which book to buy. (I didn't start caring about fashion and clothes until, um, college. Did I just admit that?)
One of the worst things I ever did was join a book club. I'm sure this works great for some people, but me, well, you can't judge a book by its cover, or its jacket. I had so many books that were just unreadable. Awful! I hate buying a book only to discover that you can't stand it!
After that I began borrowing heavily from roommates and the library. Isn't it great when you find an author you love? Then you can just buy their books at leisure, confidant that you'll enjoy everything they write.
Now I don't buy books unless they've been recommended to me. Sure, I can look at a book review, but opinions are so varied. It's when friends of mine who have enjoyed what I enjoy and like what I like say, "This book is awesome!" that I decide to buy it. I'll admit, it's hard to venture out and try new writers. At least for me. The feeling of disappointment when the book doesn't hold up to its promises dampers any adventurous-book-shopping plans I may have had for the future.
That's why I'm realizing how important it is to do things like blog tours and goodreads. If my friend's blog says the book is great, I'm 100% more likely to look at the book than if the blog said nothing. (Seriously. And sometimes it takes seven of such blogs before I add the book to my shopping list.)
What are your shopping habits? Do you buy spontaneously? Or go to the store with a book in mind? Or both? When my book comes out, are you going to buy it based on a pretty cover and nice summary, or because all of your friends recommend it? (Just wondering who I'm going to have to bribe here...)